Many Federal Jobs Could Be on the Line in First Trump Budget

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The Trump administration is set to release its first formal budget proposal tomorrow (Thursday) and if early indications hold true, it will advocate significant reductions in jobs at most agencies.

There has been no sign that the administration is deviating from its earlier announced plan to add $54 billion to DoD spending and cut an equivalent amount from other agencies collectively–an average 10 percent reduction with some agencies hit harder than others.

So far there have been no projections of how that would translate into employment levels, but overall spending cuts inevitably are felt in the workforce. On the positive side, there are indications that the budget will support a federal employee pay raise–potentially 1.9 percent–and that given the scope of the potential reductions and the potential need for RIFs and furloughs to meet them, agencies will be more generous in offering buyout and early retirement incentives.

However, all that is still uncertain, and may not be fully answered even with release of the proposal; the budget plan for the fiscal year beginning October 1 will be only an initial outline, with fuller details to come in May. Also, a White House budget proposal is far from the last word: the recommendations must go through the Capitol Hill budgeting process.

Many of the ideas outlined so far already have stirred opposition, with Senate Democrats potentially in position to prevent legislation containing them from being enacted. Separately, current fiscal year funding for most agencies–VA being the main exception–is set to expire April 28.

The most common approach in such situations is to extend current spending levels through the remainder of the year, although Republicans have floated the idea of attaching other initiatives such as initial funding toward building the border wall that Trump advocates. Senate Democratic leaders have said they will not consent to that, already raising the threat of a partial government shutdown next month.